The City of Saco has sold the Unit 91 property, as seen in this file photo. LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune

SACO — The City of Saco is no longer a landlord for a commercial property on Saco Island.
Developer Bernie Saulnier of Saulnier Development has purchased a property known locally as Unit 91 from the city for $400,000. The sale closed Tuesday.
“Everything is signed and recorded. Look for big changes to happen soon,” said project spokesman Mark Robinson.
Unit 91 is a multi use space in the otherwise residential Saco Island Terrace condominium building, in a former mill complex on Saco Island. The city of Saco acquired Unit 91 in lieu of unpaid property taxes from the Island Terrace Owners Association in early 2016.
Unit 91 includes about 29,000 square feet of the former building, plus an additional 29,000 square feet on the lower level that includes about 40 parking spaces and some storage space.
City Administrator Kevin Sutherland said much work was done to resolve numerous property issues, including resolving various easements to make the property more marketable.
Sutherland said the city is breaking even on the property, as the cost to the city over the past two and a half years has been about $400,000.
Saulnier praised Sutherland and city staff for their diligence on working on what seemed like an endless amount of challenges.
“Never have I seen a situation this complex,” said Saulnier. “To the uninitiated, owning a commercial property sounds real easy. Then you find out that on Saco Island, nothing is easy. I’m glad it all worked out in the end, and I’m glad Saco will get its money back.”
Saulnier said he plans to develop at least half the property with residential units with the rest as commercial use.
Saulnier said he has to go in front of the Planning Board in September and hopes to begin construction in October.
Earlier this year, Saulnier purchased 110 Main St., which abuts the building Unit 91 is in. He said having multiple owners in the past contributed to the some of the property issues and confusion and he hopes having one owner for these two properties will alleviate some of these issues.
Saulnier also owns the undeveloped portion of Saco Island called Saco Island East, and  plans to have an announcement later this week regarding a $40 million mixed use development he is planning on that property.
Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected].

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